Peter Marino’s new textile for Rubelli has that Venetian glow

The first collaboration between Peter Marino and fifth generation Italian textile company Rubelli launches in Venice

The photo to the left shows a room, with an antique desk set in front of the windows. In front of the desk there are three baskets made out of textured, rough fabric. The photo to the right shows a close up of the textured fabric in different colors.
Left, inside the Rubelli HQ in Venice. Right, the Tiepolo fabric
(Image credit: Davide Trevisan)

‘I'm fascinated with what light does to architecture,’ says Peter Marino, swaddled in his signature leather — a taut vest, knee-pad adorned trousers and hat pulled down far over his pair of practically opaque aviator sunglasses. ‘What it does to sculptures, textiles, people.’

Marino is sitting, somewhat anachronistically, given the look, in a sumptuously silk-damask-lined room, beneath a Murano glass chandelier, in an ornately carved wooden throne that looks as if it’s lived in this particular palazzo since the day it was built. We’re in Venice, not far from San Marco Square, in the headquarters and family home of Rubelli, the fifth generation textiles company known for its Italian-made upholstery fabrics and interior furnishings.

I want light in all of my work, and the light on the water in the canals makes me absolutely crazy with joy

But only the uninitiated might consider Marino out of place. Though he arrived in Venice to launch his first collaboration with Rubelli, his history with the city stretches much farther back.

Marino’s devotion to Venice was sparked two decades ago when the former Andy Warhol collaborator was commissioned to renovate an apartment on the Grand Canal. ‘That’s when I first fell in love with it,' he recalls affectionately, speaking with Rubelli CEO Nicolò Favaretto Rubelli.

A close-up of the textured fabric in different colors, folded in a square shape.

(Image credit: Giovanni Tagini)

A close-up of the folded textured fabric in different colors.

Textures of Peter Marino’s Rubelli range. 

(Image credit: Giovanni Tagini)

Twenty years later, and many trips back, he holds the position of president of Venetian Heritage, a non-profit organisation that seeks to restore the left-in-disrepair art and antiquities that populate the city in droves. Since forming, Venetian Heritage has contributed to restoration of the Gothic silver altarpiece in the Church of San Salvador, the façades of the Church of Gesuiti and the Church of San Zaccaria, as well as three marble sculptures by Antonio Rizzo at the Palazzo Ducale, where he sprinted to for the unveiling of directly after presenting the collection.

So, when Rubelli approached Marino to collaborate on the project, all the pieces were already in place. ‘You have a city that has a unique light because of all the water,’ Marino describes of the inspiration for the collection, which was designed to mimic the glimmer of sunlight dancing on the canals. Alongside Rubelli’s team of expert weavers and textile designers, Marino narrowed in on a series of undulating patterns in silk jacquard, whose colours — a palette of pale pinks, glossy creams, ice blues — were plucked straight from a Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painting.

‘I want light in all of my work, and the light on the water in the canals makes me absolutely crazy with joy,’ Marino proclaims of his love for the floating city, ‘I could spend the rest of my life sitting looking at it.’


Laura May Todd, Wallpaper's Milan Editor, based in the city, is a Canadian-born journalist covering design, architecture and style. She regularly contributes to a range of international publications, including T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Azure and Sight Unseen, and is about to publish a book on Italian interiors.